Reps ask Okonjo-Iweala to submit MDAs budget estimates

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday directed the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to submit to the House, estimates for 31 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

The submissions should be made available  before the conclusion of consideration of the budget.

This directive was given after the House adopted the recommendations of  the report of a six-man committee it set up to determine whether the executive had complied with extant rules in submitting the budget proposal to the National Assembly.

The House had on Jan. 4, constituted a six-man committee to advice it on the propriety of continuing debate on the budget based on issue of breach raised by Rep. Emmanuel Jime (APC-Benue).

Jime in his motion had urged the House to reject the budget as laid by the Executive for non-compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007.

Presenting the report, Rep. Albert Sam-Tsokwa (PDP-Taraba), the chairman of the committee, said that the section 21 Jime relied on does not in any contradict section 81 of the 1999 Constitution.

Section 81 required Mr President to be prepared and lay it before the National Assembly  the Appropriation Bill.

It also required that in complying, the Minister should ensure that the budget estimates of 31 Government Corporations be  attached   to   the Bill.

Tsokwa said that Jime’s point of order was well founded and sustainable but advised the House to continue with the consideration of the budget in the  national interest.

“Hon. Jime’s point of Order is well founded and sustainable. However, considering national interest,  the House of Representatives should proceed with the consideration of the 2014 Appropriation Bill.

“The Minister of Finance is requested to comply fully with the mandatory provisions of Section 21 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act before the conclusion of consideration.

In a remark, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal said that the report would further guide the house in passing the budget, noting that many members allowed their personal interest to becloud national interest.

Tambuwal enjoined members to moderate their utterances on the floor of the House as they contribute  to national issues.

The speaker maintained that based on the importance of the Bill, the house would proceed with the consideration but added that, the minister should comply the provisions of the Act

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